Living With Pain
Some people with chronic pain are seeking help from pain management specialists.
Penney Cowan remembers all too well how terrible she felt the first six of
the 30 years she's endured fibromyalgia. "I was completely
nonfunctional," she says. "I was afraid, didn't know anything, and was
blindly going forward hoping someone's got the magic bullet for me."
As Cowan realized, however, there is no perfect solution for her pain. So
she decided to learn as much as she could about dealing with the discomfort.
Her active involvement not only eased her misery, but also inspired her to
establish the American Chronic Pain Association, a group dedicated to educating
healthcare professionals and the general public about pain management.
From her experience, Cowan says people who take an active role in their
treatment tend to have better quality of life, reduce their sense of suffering,
and feel more empowered. Strategies she recommends for active learners include
seeking a well-qualified pain specialist or program and looking up information
about medication and treatment from reliable sources such as
Experts say it's also helpful to know that relief may come from one or a mix
of strategies, which can include medication, physical therapy, surgery, and/or
psychological therapy. Seeking a pain specialist is reportedly only one part of
a comprehensive solution.